Next-gen small nuclear reactors or microreactors are gaining significant attention due to their utilization extending to civilian, military, and space applications. A few of the unique features that distinguish these reactors from current fleet of commercial power plant reactors is their use of high-assay low enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel, newer materials, and their compact size. These special purpose reactors are aiming to be flight-ready, transportable, and self-regulating to be used for both remote (solo) and hybrid sites in conjunction with renewables. For space applications, nuclear reactors are aiming to propel a spacecraft to distant objects in the solar system and beyond, in addition to producing power for Lunar or Martian crew habitats and machine operations. To achieve next-generation space architecture goals, several engineering hurdles must be resolved. In this talk, we will be discussing the research, design, and development of next-gen nuclear reactors with a focus on multi-scale multi-physics simulations.
Dr. Vedant Mehta is a computational multiphysicist in the Nuclear Engineering and Non-proliferation division at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. His focus is on designing and understanding advanced moderated reactors for numerous applications. He is enhancing high-fidelity multi-scale multi-physics tools to accurately predict reactor performance during normal and off-normal conditions. He is the inventor and principal developer of MARM software suite. His tools are being utilized by several national programs including NASA, industry and DoD.